To bring in the new decade, here is some feminist inspired goals for 2020!
1. Make an effort to learn what feminism is
Feminism is still a contentious word in Vanuatu. Many people are uncomfortable using it and rebuff the label despite possessing every trait of a feminist – which is merely someone who believes in EQUALITY.
This year, make an effort to do your own research and learn about feminism. Engage in conversations with women and girls of all ages and backgrounds to learn from each other. And don’t forget to talk to older women who have been fighting for women’s rights since Independence – there is so much to learn from intergenerational discussions on how to progress the women’s movement.
2. Be confident, not sorry
Don’t succumb to the stereotypes that women are submissive and weak. Resolve this year to fight back. In your next class or meeting, think twice before you start a sentence with “sorry.” You have a right to use your voice and be assertive. #sorrynotsorry.
3. Speak up
Speak up and stand up for yourself — and all women. Whether out of financial, physical, or personal risk, countless women around the world aren’t able to advocate for themselves. It’s up to the rest of us to speak up on their behalf.
4. Register to vote
This year we are getting a new government and it’s not just your RIGHT, but also your DUTY to vote. What issues are important to you? And do you think the person you are voting for will make it a priority? ASK YOUR LEADERS what are they going to do for women this year! Women’s issues such as reproductive health, maternal health, violence against women and girls, safety in public spaces are important. Make your voice heard, register to vote and turn up at the poll. Visit the Electoral Office and Civil Status office for more information on how to vote, or check it out online.
5. Negotiate your salary
Have you been working in the same place for years? Or maybe you have only been there for a few months and you’ve already been promoted? Did you get a pay raise? You will be surprised by how many women have been promoted to a managerial role with a fancy title and more responsibilities but without a wage that reflects that. If you feel that your quality of work deserves a higher salary and better benefits, speak to your employer. Write down what you have achieved and what you have brought to the organization and be prepared for pushback. This is the art of negotiation, so don’t be intimidated – YOU GOT THIS!
6. Support other women in your workplace
It doesn’t matter if you are not in a position of leadership in your workplace – recognize the achievements of the women around you and let them know that you value their work. Ask your managers if they can mentor you, reach out to the new and younger workers and give them guidance. Connect and support each other! You spend most of your adult life working, so you may as well enjoy the company of other women in your space. Remember that other women aren’t the competition — they’re our allies.
7. Make peace with your body
Your body is your temple – honor it, praise it and make peace with it. It’s time to be kinder to yourself. We all have imperfections we don’t like, whether it’s cellulite, a bit of a belly, bad skin, sub-optimal body measurements, but instead of criticising yourself, try complimenting yourself for once. How does it feel? This year, let’s start focusing on loving ourselves instead of putting ourselves down.
Yes, we want to see you setting goals. Yes, we want to see you making plans to achieve them. But we also want you to remember REST is important. Take time out for self-care regularly so you can restore yourself.
This article was originally published in the Vanuatu Daily Post’s January 2020 edition of the Life and Style magazine.